Today, Yesterday, Last Week…

Its been going on for weeks now. Every day feels like an attack from one side or the other. Just when I think there will be one calm day with somewhat reasonable expectations of me, then I get hit again.

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The Tangled Mind

The tangled mass of vibrant colors shooting out of the head makes visual the struggle to explain the traumatized mind.  Surviving each day is challenging enough, but then we face trying to describe the sensation to others.

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Breaking Point

Burning stress, piercing hurt, and crushing fear
Pile on, forming a jagged mountain of pain. 
Then, a feather lands atop with a whisper of breath.
Giant boulders crash down, roaring like a freight train.
The taste of blood in my throat, a migraine of molten lava,
And my heart, pounding out of my chest, beating in my ears.
The breaking point smoulders from holding it in too long.

The Passage of Pain

Migraine is often passed on from mother to daughter. Image: Migraine Action 436

So many things are passed on to our children including some of our most significant struggles.  What a joy it is to see the positive aspects of family traits reflected in our children and what a devastating reality it is to see them struggle with pain.  My youngest daughter has migraines.  She got them from me. My mom and my maternal grandmother both had migraines, and I suspect this genetic condition goes back many generations more than any of us know.

Today, after missing another school day, my sweet daughter is in bed with her head on an ice pack and her room as dark as can be in the middle of the day. I know exactly how she feels, yet I am powerless to end her pain. It was just after she was born that my migraines became chronic and, ultimately, intractable. She knows what her future could hold, and it both scares her and makes her sad.

Another journey is at hand because we must find a way to control/prevent my daughter’s migraine attacks before they take over her life. I’m so sorry little one. It is part of who we are, but I won’t let it overtake you.

Longing for Restful Sleep

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I Wear My Sunglasses Inside

 I wear my sunglasses inside
So I can so I can
Protect my eyes from blinding rays
And I wear my sunglasses inside
So I can so I can
Function in some normal kind of way

Lyrics adapted from Sunglasses at Night by Corey Hart
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Out of Order

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Unknown Artist

This picture symbolizes how I feel today and all of last week with a non-stop migraine. I’ve been out of order but still trying to function. Every task requires so much more effort. I make so many mistakes that take even more time to go back and correct. The pain has subsided – for now, but I am thoroughly exhausted.

My body feels heavy and weak. My brain feels like it is swimming in soggy oatmeal, and my thoughts are slow and shallow. When I talk, many words are forgotten, slurred, or mispronounced. I make no sense, and I recognize the look on my children’s faces. They are worried, scared, and try to help me, all the while warning me not to do too much. “We don’t want your migraines to get any worse,” they say.

Chronic migraine hurts, and it scares my children. The latest migraine attack is the first time in many months a migraine has lasted more than a day or two. I’m desperate for the end of this episode.

Migraine Sayings

I say these things too often. “My head hurts,” is the most common saying for me, followed closely by “Can you close the blinds.” Other well-used sayings are, “What’s that smell?” and “Can’t someone else drive you?”
A series of flashcards with these sayings would come in handy on the days it hurts to speak. I could plaster them to the bedroom door and stay hidden in my silent, dark, and smell-free migraine cocoon.

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Just Get Over It!

I know for a fact that if I had a traditional “physical disease,” with outwardly visible symptoms, people in my life would be more understanding.  For some reason, crippling depression, complex PTSD, and chronic migraine that not only offers blinding pain but impaired cognitive function are “all in my head,” and I should be able to “get over it.”

My family would not be embarrassed or disappointed in me because of my illnesses.  My boss and co-workers may not have accused me of “faking it to get out of work,” and maybe I’d still have my job.  But I don’t have a traditional “visible disease,” so I must work harder to heal and overcome the stigma others, with no concept of my ailments, place upon me.

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Headlights are Not My Friends

Even the taillights are too bright during a due to severe light sensitivity as a result of chronic migraine. I try to avoid driving at night whenever possible because the headlights are painful and blinding. I wear special glasses that reduce the glare; otherwise, all I see is bright light drowning out everything else.

The pain of migraine only impacts me a couple of days each week now, and I can usually manage that. There was a time when they came virtually every day, and driving felt like torture. I’d keep a bowl or large plastic cup next to me because nausea, my migraine’s best friend, often resulted in vomiting. Yes, while I was driving.

I only drove to take the kids to and from school and to see the doctor. I couldn’t drive alone at night because I had to close my eyes at stoplights and needed one of my kids to tell me when the light turned green. The taillights from vehicles in front of me were even too bright. The headlights from cars and especially trucks on the other side of the intersection, flashed in the dark when traffic moved by, which exacerbated the pain and nausea.

It probably wasn’t a good idea for me to be driving, but at the time, there was no other reasonable option. I have less pain and fewer migraine attacks overall, but the light sensitivity is still severe. Headlights hurt my eyes, and they will never be my friends.

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